PETA has filed new comments to an old petition to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, seeking to have more criminal charges filed against a business previously found to have violated the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.
The new comments are associated with a petition PETA and other animal activists filed in 2015 That petition sought changes in the HMSA that are more to the liking of the animal activist lobby.
Colin Henstrock, a PETA investigations project manager, said that since that petition was submitted, “FSIS’ abdication of duty has continued to result in substantial animal suffering.”
“This is demonstrated clearly by Pudliner Packing, in Johnstown, PA, which FSIS has cited for at least 13 violations of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA) since June 26, 2019,” the PETA manager wrote.
“Given the remarkable history of persistent, egregious law violations at Pudliner Packing—and the extensive pain and suffering they have caused—we urge FSIS to refer this matter for federal criminal charges immediately.”
His letter was addressed to FSIS Administrator Paul Kiecker.
FSIS uses a regulatory system designed to bring about voluntary compliance, always holding the threat of more serious civil or criminal actions.
PETA does not appear to be satisfied with the status quo. It charges: “FSIS claims that “[i]nvestigators from [its] enforcement division and from USDA’s Inspector General . . . stand ready to work “with 14 U.S. attorneys to prosecute violations of the HMSA. However, we are unaware of even one instance in which FSIS collaborated with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to file criminal charges against a licensed slaughterhouse in the 44 years that violations of the HMSA have been subject to criminal sanctions under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA). The FMIA classifies such offenses as misdemeanors and provides penalties of imprisonment of up to one year and/ or a fine of up to $1,000. The fact that inhumane handling has persisted at Pudliner Packing for so long under your agency’s watch makes it abundantly clear that FSIS’ 13 enforcement and other actions are woefully ineffective. Absent the long-overdue referral of this and many other matters for a criminal prosecution, Pudliner Packing — and the rest of the nation’s licensed slaughterhouses — is encouraged by FSIS’ toothless responses and continues to violate the HMSA, with no fear of penalties or significant consequences. Criminal prosecution is in the best interests of the animals slaughtered at Pudliner Packing and the American public.”
The 2015 petition sought the following actions from FSIS:
- Amend 9 C.F.R. § 500 to provide that FSIS “will” issue at least a Noncompliance Record (NR) for all violations of the HMSA;
- Amend 9 C.F.R. § 313 to codify the definition of “egregious” violations of the HMSA given by FSIS Directive 6900.2, rev.2;
- Amend 9 C.F.R. § 500 to provide that FSIS “will” issue a Notice of Suspension for all “egregious” violations of the HMSA, as defined in 9 C.F.R. § 313;
- Amend 9 C.F.R. § 500 to require that all intentional cruelty, as well as especially egregious and reckless abuse, be referred for criminal prosecution;
- Amend 9 C.F.R. § 500 to provide FSIS with a timeline for withdrawal proceedings based on repetitive HMSA violations.
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)